Hit and Runs on the Rise in Morgantown22 hit and runs have happened in Morgantown over the past month. Here’s why hit and runs are on the rise. (via WVU News at WVU Reed College of Media)

Posted by We Heart West Virginia on Saturday, February 13, 2016

By Brooke Chaplain

Government statistics show that more than half a million hit and run accidents happen each year. With 90-percent of americans driving, that number is bound to increase.

In Morgantown, 22 hit-and-runs have happened in the last month alone.

For one WVU senior, this statistic became her reality.

“It was just scary,” said Alyssa Acquavella. “I’ve never been hit. I don’t know what to do in that type of situation. The truck wasn’t there anymore. They had left, so I couldn’t get their insurance information. I just didn’t know what to do.”

With narrow streets and limited parking, cars are constantly squeezing into tight spots.

Drivers need to always be aware.

“People need to pay attention when they’re driving and pay attention to those around you,” said Morgantown Police Lt. Matt Solomon. “If you’re a good driver and you’re paying attention to what you’re doing, it’s not going to be you. It’s going to be somebody else.”

In Morgantown leaving the scene of a crime is a misdemeanor. But with the number of collisions rising nationwide, law officials here are cracking down.

Leaving the scene of a hit and run that resulted in injury or death can spend up to three years in jail or pay five-thousand dollars in fines. On top of paying fines, drivers who hit another car are liable for damages.

In Acquavella’s case, her car needs nearly $3,000 of work.

“You always have to call the cops. Even if it’s just a little dent in your car or a little tiny scratch because you don’t want to have to be held responsible for all of that damage and all of that money.”

If you find yourself in an accident and the other car tries to flee, be sure to get their license plate number and call the police. Officials also recommend calling the police immediately while looking for any possible witnesses and getting their names and numbers.

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